May 22, 2016
Every fireworks display ends with a grand finale. In one way, it’s disappointing to know that the sky will soon go dark. No more beautiful, sparkling, colored jewels lighting the night. On the other hand, the grand finale offers a series of spectacular skyrockets so amazing that the squeal of delight from the crowd almost drowns out the loud booms as the rockets explode.
This is an image that might help you appreciate how the Church brings the Easter season to a close. After weeks of celebrating Christ’s Resurrection, the grand finale begins with Pentecost Sunday followed by Trinity Sunday…and finally, next week, before turning back to Ordinary Time, we celebrate Corpus Christi. This is truly a spectacular way to bring the celebration of our hope for eternal life to a close.
The New Testament makes it easier for us to understand how Jesus’s promise not to leave us orphaned was fulfilled on Pentecost. The Acts of the Apostles (2:1-11) describes this spectacular event in salvation history. A forceful wind, tongues of fire, a dramatic change in behavior manifested in the fearless behavior of the Apostles and disciples in the miracle of speech wherein The Good News was simultaneously translated into a language which all who heard understood and accepted with great joy. The vivid description of these historic events helps to put us in touch with our own personal experience and relationship with The Holy Spirit. In fact, the grand finale of the Easter Season begins with remembering and celebrating something that occurred in the past…a bit like a “birthday.”
Today’s celebration is far more difficult to wrap our minds around. Trinity Sunday is not about an event that occurred in the past…within human history. There are no eyewitness descriptions of how our One God is Three Divine Persons…Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. This is a sacred and infinite mystery that is beyond the ability of our finite minds to comprehend. So, we search for concrete images in order to delve deeper into The Three Persons identified in today’s Gospel (John 16:12-15). St. Patrick used the familiar shamrock to acquaint the Irish with the unfamiliar Blessed Trinity. St. Hildegard of Bingen spoke of the light, heat, and power of a flame to explain how three can be one. But these are just word pictures, and, although useful, at best, provide only a superficial explanation of the Divine existence.
Perhaps in these times of “multitasking,” real life experience might give us a deeper sense of what we celebrate today. What better experience of “trinity of persons” is there than a working mom? Leaving her own bed in the middle of the night to comfort a crying child…she is pure mother…and her child sees her as that and only that. Hours later, at her workplace, dealing with and focused on whatever challenges her day brings, she is absorbed by her job…and her coworkers see her and relate to her in terms of her function. Then, at the end of a busy day, when they are finally able to enjoy a quiet moment together…she is a loving spouse.
While we all “multitask” to the point of having multiple dimensions to our lives, moms might experience the reality of The Blessed Trinity in a special way because all they do is motived by love. It is love that enables them to “live three.” And so it is with God.
The Creator calls us into existence and holds us in existence out of love. We, the coworkers of The Son, look to Jesus to teach us the work of healing, forgiving, exercising, calming storms, nourishing, sharing, teaching, and proclaiming the Kingdom. It is the Holy Spirit whom dwells among and within us…inviting us to join in the perfect harmony of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Simply put, God multitasks!
As we look up into the dark unknown today, and see the wonder and beauty of the Holy Trinity burst open before our eyes like a brilliant skyrocket…the shouts of delight from the Church should drown out the loud noise of the world. The image of the fireworks display, however, is pathetically superficial. A skyrocket lasts for mere seconds. The beauty and wonder of our good and loving and “multitasking” God…is eternal. There is no finale to God!